December 22, 2014
Pope Francis meets UK Queen Elizabeth 32 years after Malvinas War
Only a day after Buenos Aires and London marked the 32nd anniversary of the Malvinas War, Pope Francis – or Argentina’s Jorge Mario Bergoglio – met with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II for the first time at the Vatican.
In a 20-minute meeting, the head of the Anglican Church was lavished with a present for royal baby George and a 1679 parchment that reads an “Urbi et Orbi" message by cardinal Cesare Facchinetti.
Joined by her husband and Duke of Edinburg, the 87-year-old monarch arrived in Rome today where she first met with Italy’s president Giorgio Napolitano. Elizabeth II visited the Vatican twice, in 1961 to meet Pope John XXIII and on 2000 to meet John Paul II.
The Pope, the Queen and Malvinas
There have been high expectations here that the pope could speak in favour of the South American country’s sovereignty claims over the Malvinas Islands during his gathering with the British Queen. According to the Vatican official information on today's event, however, the leaders did not discuss the bilateral row.
As Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 2012, Jorge Mario Bergoglio said soldiers had died to “defend their mother, the homeland, and to reclaim what’s theirs,” and that the resource-rich archipelago had been “seized” by the British in 1833.
Last year, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner requested the pontiff's help to have London sit at the negotiating table and discuss the Malvinas sovereignty dispute when she attended the pontiff's inaugurating mass following his appointment as head of the Roman Catholic Church.
When Bergoglio was elected to the papacy, British Prime Minister David Cameron told the press that he was “not in agreement” with the pope’s statements about Malvinas.